[PHOTO -Paula Bianca with her trophy for Best New Recording Artist from the PMPC Awards for Music. Right: Her eponymous debut album]

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 24, 2012 (PHILSTAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo - Curtain-raisers:

• It’s confirmed Jessica Sanchez is the newest endorser of Jollibee, coming after Sarah Geronimo (said to be a deadringer for Jessica) and abortive(?) suitor Gerald Anderson.

• Next month, the Asian Academy of Television Arts (AATA) will offer classes in Creative Television Production and Creative Scriptwriting. According to AATA founder-manager Wilma Galvante, weekend classes in singing, acting and dancing will also be included starting Oct. 20. Interested? Call 285-2282 or text/call 0908-8205370/0917-5098194. AATA is located at 821 EDSA, Quezon City. Incidentally, how’s Wilma doing at TV5, her new home? Here’s a note from her: “I am even busier now than when I was with GMA — but loving it! Work in GMA was fulfilling as we churned out one show after another, working with a dedicated staff and all. I miss them. But it’s different kind of exhilaration now with what’s happening at AATA. And in terms of concept and execution, I’m also very happy with the turnout of Artista Academy, the reality show of TV5. Iba talaga when an artista search is supported with real education. It is apparent in the quality of performance which adds to a very good show. TV5 has this new batch of delightful talents that the network can really call its own. Ang galing din the way management supports the search. That’s why I take my role as Artista Academy ‘principal’ very seriously, too.”


• Meanwhile, the new TV5 game show The Million Peso Money Drop continues its auditions for pairs up for the show’s challenge, with another one set for tomorrow, Sept. 23 (registration from 9 to 11 a.m. ), at TV5 Broadway Centrum, Quezon City. Applicants must be 18 to 60 years old and physically fit. Bring two valid IDs, one 2x2 photo, an original NBI clearance, birth certificate and medical certificate.

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She’s a true-blue Cuneta, her father Danny Cuneta (of PAGCOR) being a brother of the Megastar, but Paula Bianca followed friends’ suggestion to drop her surname so she wouldn’t be accused of riding on the magic of that name.

“Besides,” conceded Paula, “there’s only one Cuneta in showbiz. Nag-iisa lang siya talaga. When you hear the name Cuneta, only one person comes to your mind — the Megastar.”

During this interview over dinner at her dad’s office at Manila Pavilion, arranged by Daisy Romualdez (Paula’s manager and Danny’s good friend), Paula’s eponymous debut album (released by Vicor) was playing, all five songs over and over again — Problemang Puso by Vehnee Saturno), Napapaluha also by Saturno and Elisette Blancaflor, Napakasakit Naman also by Saturno, Miss Na Miss Kita by Rico Soliman) and Parting Time by Paul Sapiera.

Listening to Paula’s songs, you are convinced beyond reasonable doubt that she will make it on her own without riding on any relative.

“It’s better to make a name not ‘by association’ but through your own talent,” said Paula who has won two awards so far, Best New Artist last June from Tambayan 101.9 FM (the only winner who’s not from ABS-CBN, the station’s sister company) and Best New Recording Artist from the recent Music Awards of the PMPC (Philippine Movie Press Club).

In her early 20s, the Masscom magna cum laude graduate from St. Scholastica’s College (Manila) unashamedly confessed that she has never been in love, never had any boyfriend, even if she sings love songs as if she has gone through the whole gamut of falling in and out of love.

Do her parents shield her from suitors like what the over-protective parents of Sarah Geronimo are doing?

“Not really,” said Paula, an unica hiya among three children. “Basta, ayoko muna,” smiling at her mom who was seated beside her. “I’m a homebody, at saka hindi ako lapitin ng boys, hehehehe!” Maybe the boys are intimidated by Paula’s “magna” status. “I hope not,” laughed Paula, crossing her fingers.

Speaking of Sarah, last year when Daisy brought Paula to Viva, big boss Vic del Rosario Jr. thought of building her up as another Sarah Geronimo after he listened to Paula sing two songs, Bukas Na Lang Kita Mamahalin and You Make Me Feel Like A Natural Woman (by Aretha Franklin).

“I’m really more into R&B,” added Paula. “Aside from songs by Aretha Franklin, I grew up on those by Alicia Keys, Beyoncé and Whitney Houston. Sila ‘yung mga gusto kong maging. Tops among my local favorites si Tita Sharon kasi magaling siya humagod.”

Admittedly a late-bloomer, Paula started singing at 16, pre-occupied as she was with her other talent, painting. “I started painting when I was three years old,” volunteered Paula. “Even if I never thought of pursuing singing as a career, I kind of began singing professionally after college. I was inspired and encouraged by Susana Pichay, my voice coach, who saw me perform during my recital. I thought singing would just be a hobby.”

Any chance of her and her Tita Sharon doing a duet (for a record or in a concert)?

“Nice idea, why not?” said Paula who keeps in mind reminders from Mega: Love your fans and keep your feet firmly on the ground.

Aga, Charlene read love poems on Macalintal show

Up to now, election lawyer Romy Macalintal can’t get over the excitement of having Aga Muhlach and his wife Charlene Gonzalez as guests on his DWBR 104.3 FM weekend program The Law of the Heart is Love.

Recalled Romy, “We had a grand day last week during the pre-taping of their episodes where they were practically mobbed by their fans consisting mostly of the employees of DWBR who took that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to have photo ops with them which they so kindly and wholeheartedly allowed.”

Their episodes have to be divided into two parts: First, the poems read by Aga and the short interview with him will be aired tonight from 8 to 9 (with replay on tomorrow, Sept. 23, 9 to 10 p.m. over DWBR, 104.3 FM); and the second episode which will carry the interview with Charlene and the poems she read will be aired on Sept. 29 and 30, same time.

Aga will read the love poems I Treasure You and As Long as You Care by James J. Metcalfe, and Ikaw at Ako by Crisanta Cardeno-Reyes. On the other hand, Charlene will read Metcalfe’s When Cupid Came and As Long as We Love, and the Tagalog poem Sariling Bayan of Iñigo Ed. Regalado.

“I am sure our listeners will also enjoy another poem of Metcalfe titled Enduring Date which Aga and Charlene will read together,” said Romy. “I slightly revised the poem to make it a dialogue type of poem reading,” as follows:

Enduring Date

By James J. Metcalfe

Aga: Remember when I took your hand, and asked you for a date

Charlene: And I agreed but cautioned you, that you should not be late?

Aga: Well, I got there quite ahead of time, and we went out that night

Charlene: And afterwards I said I thought, you seemed to be all right.

Aga: You liked me in a way and yet, you were not really sure

Charlene: Though we had formed a friendship, that forever would endure.

Aga: And then the days and nights went by, I saw you more and more

Charlene: Till finally I thought you were the one, I was really looking for.

Aga and Charlene:

And then the time have come and gone, since you and I were wed

And still in perfect happiness, we plan the years ahead.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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